- Bernardo Silva (46)
Premier League, March 4 2018
Manchester City strolled one step closer to the Premier League title with this facile 1-0 victory at home to champions Chelsea. Antonio Conte set the visitors up to defend deep and frustrate the hosts, playing Eden Hazard as a lone – and lonely – striker against a City defence that rarely stepped out of first gear. Pep Guardiola’s men had to wait until the second half before making the breakthrough that earned all three points, but it came quickly – man of the match David Silva was the architect, crossing for Bernardo Silva to slot home less than a minute after the break.
Shots / On target
Passes / Accurate
Fouls / Yellow / Red
Analysis: Manchester City
Pep Guardiola’s side adopted a 4-3-3 formation both in attack and in defence. The wingers and the full-backs varied their movements, with the objective of disturbing their opponents and keeping possession. The defenders made it difficult for Chelsea to develop their attacks using their high press, closing down the player who received the ball and marking other potential recipients nearby. Their main objective was to force Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta to play direct into their only outlet, Eden Hazard, knowing that Nicolas Otamendi and Aymeric Laporte would prevail easily in the air, with the defensive midfielder Ilkay Gundogan always ready to pick up the second ball.
The hosts’ defence were never really put under any serious pressure as a result, and with Chelsea defending so deep at the other end the counter-attack never really played any part in the game.
In attack, City had absolute control of the match. They played with great patience, always confident that, through positional play and by dominating the ball in the opposition half, they would eventually find the gaps to exploit in their opponents’ defence. Ederson in goal had no problem playing out from the back, and his defenders reached the halfway line without challenge.
Beyond that, they tried to find Gundogan as the deepest-lying playmaker to filter passes through their defensive unit. This did prove a challenge, with neither Kevin De Bruyne nor David Silva able to regularly find space in central areas behind the line of pressure. In the final third, however, City were able to break in behind Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso out wide, with Chelsea concentrating numbers in the centre. This led to the winning goal, as Gundogan and Sergio Aguero combined to find David Silva in behind Moses; the Spaniard crossed for Bernardo Silva to finally open the scoring.
Manchester City adopted a 4-3-3 formation both in attack and in defence. Pep Guardiola’s wingers and full-backs varied their movements, while the forwards were fluid in their positioning – as seen here, with Leroy Sane dropping into midfield, Sergio Aguero wide on the left and Kevin De Bruyne in the centre-forward spot.
Manchester City made it difficult for Chelsea to develop attacks from the back, with a high press and a second line of defenders marking potential receivers. Here, Bernardo Silva shows Antonio Rudiger on to his weak side, from where the defender has no option but to hoof it long and gift possession back to City.
City consistently and quickly won the ball back in their defensive phase. Their high press and rapid movement closed off passing options and forced the visitors into making mistakes.
Oleksandr Zinchenko and Kyle Walker consistently adopted contrasting approaches in their attacking movements. While one full-back advanced high and wide up the pitch, the other remained in central and intermediate areas. In this way, Guardiola tried to surprise the opposition on their weaker side without causing any imbalance in his own team should they lose possession.
The home side’s winner came from their ability to take advantage of space out wide, in behind the Chelsea full-backs. David Silva gets in behind Victor Moses and crosses for Bernardo Silva to score the game’s only goal.
Chelsea started in a 5-4-1 formation, switching to a 5-3-2 in the second half after the late introduction of Olivier Giroud. They defended deep inside their own half and tried to prevent any spaces from appearing behind their back line.
The Chelsea midfielders piled pressure on the player in possession when Man City picked up the ball in a dangerous area, forcing him to go backwards. This slowed the tempo of the home side’s attacking play.
Chelsea tried to make life difficult for Man City by closing down the central channel. Andreas Christensen provided defensive support for his two neighbouring centre-backs when they were busy marking possible receivers, while the wing-backs were also ready to offer cover when required.
Chelsea defended exceptionally deep, shrinking the pitch and compressing the space in which their opponents could pass the ball around freely. They marked Ilkay Gundogan, the deepest-lying City midfielder, and the forwards especially tightly.
Chelsea rarely managed to threaten the Man City back four, but did so soon after going a goal behind. Cesc Fabregas reaches the edge of the penalty area and is able to find Moses, who advances into the space freed up by Willian.
Antonio Conte’s side started in a 5-4-1 formation, switching to 5-3-2 in the second half after the late introduction of Olivier Giroud. They defended deep inside their own half to try and prevent any spaces from appearing behind their back line, with the aim that the dangerous Manchester City forwards would find it difficult to threaten Thibaut Courtois.
The Blues defended exceptionally deep to try and prevent any spaces from appearing behind their back line. Antonio Conte adopted a very conservative system, focusing on their defensive organisation so that they could stay in the game with the hope of stealing a goal on the break. They tried to make life difficult for City by closing down the central channel, reducing the space for Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and in particular Sergio Aguero. Andreas Christensen, in the centre of the back three, provided defensive support for his two neighbouring centre-backs when they were busy marking possible receivers. Any gaps subsequently emerged in behind the wing-backs Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso, as shown by the home side’s winning goal.
In what little defensive transition there was, Chelsea dropped back quickly and effectively. They never wanted to concede space in their own half, that the dangerous Man City attackers could exploit on the counter-attack. They also tried to delay any opposition breakaway by amassing players behind the ball or resorting to tactical fouls.
The Blues employed a direct approach in attack, but this was hardly effective given the players they had out on the pitch. Man City closed off all passing options and marked the three centre-backs tightly, with the result that Courtois often launched the ball over the top with no great success. The midfield looked for direct passes into Hazard, but this didn’t work either. They rarely if ever managed to break through the Man City defensive line, with naturally offensive players such as Cesc Fabregas and Pedro mostly anonymous. With attacking options reduced, the visitors failed to generate any danger in the final third of the pitch apart from one occasion when Moses had a slim chance. His shot, like anything else Chelsea tried in the game, did not hit the target.
Manchester City had absolute control of the match in attack. They played with the necessary patience and looked confident that, through intelligent positional play and by dominating the ball in the opposition half, they would find the gaps required to fashion a winner.
Man City nullified Chelsea entirely in their attacking phase. Their effective high press forced the visitors to play direct or make mistakes in their attempts at shorter combination play. Either way, the visitors’ options going forward were consistently limited.
Chelsea defended exceptionally deep to try and prevent any spaces from appearing behind their back line. Antonio Conte adopted a very conservative system, focusing on defensive organisation so that they could stay in the game with the hope of stealing a goal on the break.
Conte opted to start without a recognised centre-forward, leaving both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud on the bench. Eden Hazard, their most advanced player, was largely powerless given the direct approach of his teammates; he had little to do besides help in defence.